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Chelsea Market Expansion Unveiled: Offices, Hotel, Anger!

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Swimming in gold coins Scrooge McDuck style after selling a building to Google for $1.9 billion in cold hard cash, developer Jamestown Properties announced a big expansion plan for one of its crown jewels, the Chelsea Market retail/office complex. The historic former Nabisco factory was said to be getting an additional 300,000 or so square feet dropped on top of its old bones if Jamestown gets it way. The developer needs a zoning waiver in order to build so big, so last night the torture porn of public review began with a presentation to a Community Board 4 subcommittee. ArchiTakes was there and has a full report on the proceedings, including renderings (above) shown by Studios Architecture of the two main components. Initial reaction: Holy Ritz!

Seen first is the massive office space addition (nearly 250,000 square feet) on Tenth Avenue, above where the High Line passes through. Writes ArchiTakes, "The design tries to break down its oppressive mass by collage effects which could conceivably be said to take inspiration from the accretive vocabulary of the Chelsea Market complex, although [architect David] Burns didn't seem to have the heart to even bother trying this pitch." Then there's the 90,000-square-foot boutique hotel on the Ninth Avenue side of Chelsea Market, above the restaurant Buddakan. More competition for the Standard, Maritime, Gansevoort and soon-to-open Dream Downtown? Yep, but Jamestown "presented the hotel not as another contribution to the Meatpacking nightclub scene, but as sober support for businesses based in the upper floors of the Market." Um, sure!

One CB4 member called the new stuff downright "ugly" and others questioned the benefits to the community should the Chelsea Market be allowed to mutate. DNAinfo has much more on the crowd's concerns (some people were wearing "Save Chelsea Market" pins), and Jamestown's response. The developer would be paying $50 for every square foot of added space?over $16 million?into the High Line Improvement Fund, and would build a High Line amenities package that includes public restrooms and a new space used for events and education. Friends of the High Line co-founder Joshua David made an appearance to talk about how much the park would benefit from the added revenue. One CB4 member said, "I sort of resent that the High Line is being brought into this and used against us." Cookie time is over, folks. Get ready for a war.
· Saving Chelsea Market [ArchiTakes]
· Chelsea Market Expansion Plans Panned by Locals [DNAinfo]
· Developer Plans Rooftop Addition After Chelsea Market Takeover [Curbed]